Prerogative of Mercy: Northern Ireland

House of Lords written question – answered on 29th July 2014.

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Photo of Lord Laird Lord Laird Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Randerson on 10 July (WA 76), which other parts of government aside from the Northern Ireland Office are being contacted about the missing files on the provision of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy (RPM) in Northern Ireland between 1987 and 1997; which bodies played a role in RPM grants in that period; and which department would now maintain files on such use.

Photo of Baroness Randerson Baroness Randerson Lords Spokesperson (Northern Ireland Office), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales

Officials from the Northern Ireland Office have contacted colleagues in the Department of Justice, The National Archives, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland and the Royal Household to ascertain if they hold relevant information. During the period 1987-1997 the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland was responsible for recommending the exercise of the RPM to HM the Queen in Northern Ireland cases. At this time, the use of RPM was relatively common, since this pre-dated the establishment of the Criminal Cases Review Commission. It appears that during this period, the use of the RPM was not recorded in a single central list. Individual case records, including information about RPM use, are likely have been destroyed in accordance with proper protocols. The Northern Ireland Office maintains files relating to its use of the RPM, in line with public records legislation and National Archives guidance. Other departments are responsible for the paperwork relating to their own use of the RPM in GB.

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